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Headless Statue relocated

Posted on 1 Jul 2024

Eglinton Country Park’s Headless Statue has been relocated this week as work begins on North Ayrshire’s contribution to the national Covid-19 memorial project.

A popular sight for visitors to our local country park, the statue was previously located at Eglinton’s Formal Garden, just a stones throw from the Old Stables and Tournament Bridge.

Now in its permanent home, near the main visitor courtyard - adjacent to The Knight and his Horse sculpture - the statue will be seen by even more visitors ahead of the busy summer season.

Rhonda Leith, Head of Service for Connected Communities said: “We are pleased to report the safe removal and relocation of the Headless Statue. Thank you to the Eglinton Park staff who have enabled the smooth transition.

“We hope that the new location of the statue will result in even more visitors appreciating its intrigue and unique history.

“The reason for the move is because the Formal Gardens will now be the location for North Ayrshire’s contribution to Scotland’s Remembering Together project – a memorial project in the heart of Eglinton Park to provide a space for reflection, connection and remembrance. Stay tuned to social media in the coming months for updates on this.”

With an interesting history, the stone carved statue was originally sculpted by James Gibson in 1888, a family-run producer of headstones.

It was one of their most important non-cemetery works and their only recorded architectural sculpture.

Commissioned by a Paisley soap manufacturer famed for its thistle soap, the statue sat proudly upon Isdale and McCallum’s factory roof until 1971 before the building was demolished and it was then brought to Ayrshire by local business man, Clement Wilson.

Not long after, the heads and legs were unfortunately vandalised – hence the name today ‘The Headless Statue’.

Although the statue offers a popular selfie-spot for visitors to take photos posing in place of the heads, the statue wasn’t always headless.

It originally depicted an elderly man who is trying to take a thistle out of a young boy’s foot after he accidently stepped on one.

On the base, the inscription reads “ye maunna tramp on the Scotch thistle laddie” – translating to “you must not step on a thistle laddie.”

Follow Eglinton Country Park on Facebook and on X (formerly Twitter) for more updates from the Park this summer season.